Monday, June 20, 2016

Design Wall Monday

I've got a lot of quilting stuff on my plate right now and some of it I can't show. That's the bad new. The good news is that the Christmas in July Blog Hop is getting closer and I can show some of it then. Yay!

In my quest for organization, I was getting some things together for my Tuesday night Cleveland Modern Quilt Guild meeting. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I did not finish my previous month Everything Old is New Again challenge block. AARRGGGGHHHHH 

I know exactly what happened. I got stuck on one part and set it aside to work on later, but later never came. Later is right now and I have no choice but to buckle down, do the math and figure it out so I can get the block sewn.

I have to give a bit of a background here about this challenge. We are given the name of a traditional block and we must create a modern version of it. So far we've had Log Cabin, Flying Dutchman, Dresden Plate, Churn Dash, Ohio Star, Clay's Choice, Broken Wheel, and now Chinese Puzzle. I am not a huge fan of sampler quilts, which this will turn out to be, so I tried to make it a bit less painful for me and am using basically the same fabrics with each block. I have one fabric that will appear toward the center of each block and white is my background fabric. I have a handful of blues and greens that I am using and that's it. My hope is that I'll have an easier time making it all work together.

Because it was a challenge, I decided to challenge myself in another way as well. My blocks are not square. They all will finish at 9" wide by 11" tall. When I first started this, it was pretty easy, but I've run into some math challenges and that is exactly what happened with the Chinese Puzzle.

This is the block that was giving me fits. It's a rectangle that measures 2 3/4" wide by 3 1/4" high unfinished. The half rectangle angle was easy. It's the other angle that was a pain - and there are four of these units in the block. After getting out the calculator and trying to remember high school trig, I had the proverbial "AH HA" moment and realized that I could draw this in Electric Quilt and it would do the math for me. (I know, some of you may think that is the cheater way, but I'm ok with that.)

I drew the entire block in EQ and then isolated the "problem" units.  Numbers 11, 12, 13, and 14.  
After realizing that I was going to have to cut weird angles, I decided to make this with paper piecing. Bingo!  (I've already sewn the first two pieces here before I remembered to take the picture. (The number 13 refers to the unit in the final block.)
If you've never paper pieced before, don't let it scare you. It really made short work of this unit and it was precise. Here's what it looks like from the back after I sewed the first tow sections together. I know it's hard, but can you see that the white fabric is not lined up exactly with the green fabric on the right side? I did that to avoid having the green show through the front in the seam allowance.  

It's pressed out and in the following picture, I've sewn the final piece (large triangle) to the other unit and it's ready to press. 

Here it is all pressed out. Looks ugly, right?

Ill just trim along the outside line, which is the 1/4" seam allowance.

It looks so much better!

Here's the back...

And the front. Much better!

I'll just plop it in where it need to be...
 And now I'm ready to sew the rows together.

I've got to remember to use EQ more frequently. It would save me so much time.  :-)
What's on your design wall?
Check out what projects are being worked on out there in "Quilt World"
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Monday, June 13, 2016

Design Wall and Sister Time

As many of you know, I am the ninth of twelve children - seven girls and five boys. For the past nine years, the girls have gotten together for an annual "Sisters' Weekend" and we've enjoyed every minute of it. We used to travel to southeast Ohio for our time together, but four years ago, the girls started coming to my house. I think it works well, and I know I love having them all here.
We miss that Mom is no longer alive to join the, but her spirit is alive and well with us, especially during our time together. Check out the bracelet Paula gave us.

 This is where Paula got them and they are perfect!
Speaking of Paula, here is a quilt that she worked on while here.  She bought this fabric a long time ago (at least five years ago), and it has been at my house since then. I can't tell you how tempting it has been to scoop it up and make something for myself, but I resisted. Paula finished this top, but I did not get a picture of that. She added a small dark border and it is gorgeous!

She pieced her backing in strips and it is fun. Of course I have the back side of the backing because we were starting to layer it for her but she changed her mind and began working on something else. She is in the process of making a disappearing nine patch variation but for some reason I don't have pictures of that either. :-(

Barb was very productive during our time together. Here is her finished version of Stretched. Love the colors!
 She made two Bubbly Bags and opted to not add the applique. These are adorable, even though the picture does not do them justice.

Barb also made a Mondo Bag using 5" Charm squares and a cell phone carrier. 

Pat and Barb made some Sweetpea Pods. These are adorable!
Here are the six they completed. 

And here's the pattern they used.

Kathie made a couple of microwave bowls and again, the picture certainly does not do them justice. She picked some fabulous fabric. 
Ann made some adorable fabric boxes using crib sheets so they matched the recipient's nursery. Great idea!

Pat just wanted to try this pattern, so she made one sample. 
And then she made a few more!  :-)

Pat also worked on a couple of quilts. Aren't these adorable?

She used the Quick Strippie pattern that Mary so graciously provides on her website. She has a fun blog that I follow and think you should check it out.
Aren't the fabrics Pat used so darn cute?!? Here's the baby version of the quilt.

 I love how the outside border fabric and binding look together.

Here is the larger version, which only includes one small dark brown border. This ended up being a really good size.

But what I think is perfect for this quilt and what I think makes it POP, is the flange binding with bias cut plaid. It is AWESOME!!
It even looks great from the back, where she used a light orange star fish fabric.  

I can't show you on what I spent a bunch of time working, but I can show you the fabrics. These are for the Christmas in July Blog Hop. 
The quilt top is made and I am working on the tutorial. Yippee!!
I did have a bunch of little triangles left over from the quilt, so I decided to make them into half square triangles. The are 1.75" unfinished and will finish 1.25." I think I'm crazy!

I have 154 of these cuties and have started to sew them together. I love bonus projects!

We don't all work just on sewing during our time together. This year Terri opted for what I think is the most challenging and daunting project of all - sorting old photos from Mom and Dad.  
What's on your design wall today?
Check out what other quilters have up today.
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tip Tuesday! - Find YOUR Quilting Passion

"Tip Tuesday!" - Find YOUR Quilting Passion
I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday (or most Tuesdays!) I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog.

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources. I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday!" tab above.

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!

If you have read many of my blog posts, you know that I LOVE just about all aspects of quilting.
I love fondling fabrics under the guise of searching for just the right shade of orange to match the project on which I'm working.
I love reading quilt books, magazines, and patterns and drooling over the beautiful quilts and trying to decide just what fabrics I could choose to make MY quilts just as stunning.
I actually like the cutting process, although it can be tedious. The rotary cutter signifies the beginning of a new quilt and many hours of blissfully sitting at my sewing machine excitedly watching the transformation from simple fabric to wonderful quilt.
To me, one of the most relaxing sounds in the entire world is the sound of a sewing machine. Seriously!
And then there is the teaching that I do. Oh my, my heart is fluttering, just thinking about it. I actually get to help someone else develop their love of quilting and that is an awesome feeling. (I have told people that sometimes I feel like a drug pusher because I get people hooked on quilting. Of course my drug of choice is fabric.)
I think you get the message.
I LOVE quilting!
One of the reasons that I love to quilt is the feeling I get when I give a quilt to someone or donate it, knowing that it will bring warmth, comfort, and happiness to the recipient.
It is an amazing feeling.
I've made A LOT of quilts in the sixteen years I've been quilting; and when I say a lot, I mean a hundreds of quilts. My husband has asked me many times to figure out how many quilts I've made and I just may try to figure that out for him. It should be pretty easy to do the math because I have information about all of the quilts I've donated for tax purposes and I have pictures I've posted on my blog.
Since no single person or family really needs hundreds of quilts, I found a couple of ways that I can justify my continuation to make quilts - I always need new class samples, and I donate a fair number every year. 
I am always trying to find a new charity, group, etc. that is in need of quilts. During my search, I make inquiries locally, read the newspaper, surf the web, etc.  After my research, I make my decisions and then quilts are made and sent away to their new homes. 
While reading Scott's blog over at
I became aware of a group called
Scott's post, and the story behind the America's Mighty Warriors has provided me with yet another outlet for my quilts. Although I won't actually be sending quilts to the group, I will be making a donation and I'll definitely be participating in the random acts of kindness program.
These words, written in a letter by Navy Seal Marc Lee who was killed in action August 2, 2006, have inspired me.
"Pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life."
I am going to make a difference!
 I will continue to make and donate quilts, but I will also find other ways to help. I will perform random acts of kindness and encourage others to do the same.

That is MY new quilting passion!

What is YOURS?

Check out Scotts blog HERE

Saturday, May 28, 2016

2 More Hands2Help Quilts

Here are the final two Hands to help quilts that I will be donating. Whew! I am just making it under the wire. You can see the first two in THIS POST.

This first quilt is made from homespuns. I showed another quilt to a man friend of mine and he commented that he liked it but perhaps I could "man it up" some.

I thought about it and realized that most of the quilts I make are on the feminine or child side. I asked him to describe what HE would want and he told me he would love to have one that was like the quilts his grandma made. He said, "I don't know what the fabric was, but it reminds me of burlap." Well, I laughed out loud and said I am sure it wasn't made from burlap. I showed him some homespuns and he said, "Yes! That's it!"

So, I got busy and made a "manly" quilt to donate.

I surprised myself and really like this and so does Jack. I think I may have to make him one.  Shhhh. Don't tell him.
And the final quilt was a kit I purchased when it was on sale from Craftsy.
It's called Arrow and I think it's a bit manly so I decided that fit the challenge.

My goal was to donate two quilts to each of the US charities and I've made it. Yay!
For more quilt eye candy, go to Confessions of a Fabric Addict to see what the other wonderful quilters are donating. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful quilt drive. Thanks Sarah for organizing this!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tip Tuesday! Off-Set Seams

"Tip Tuesday!" - Off-Set Seams

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday (or most Tuesdays!) I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog.

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources. I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday!" tab above.

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!


While working on this quilt...

I found that when I was sewing the triangles together I was encountering some issues because the diagonal seams were off-set and not always accurate. I was having to take out stitches and re-sew them because I was not happy with how they looked. After a couple of seams, I decided that I really needed to figure out a way to be accurate and avoid ripping. 

Here is a picture of the two triangles laid out next to each other. Looks innocent and easy enough, right? 

Well, when you flip the right one over to sew the seam, the horizontal lines do not match up if you've matched up the top and bottom ends.

This is what I want it to look like. I have accounted for the 1/4" seam allowance here, but found that I was not always accurate in keeping that seam allowance when I pinned and sewed. Mmmmmm, what to do?

I noticed that then I was seam ripping, I could always see where the 1/4" seam allowance was because I had the needle holes left from the seam I just ripped out. I got to thinking and decided to "sew" the 1/4" seam without thread so I had the needle markings to make pinning and sewing more accurate. Notice that there is no thread in my needle in the picture below.

Can you see the pin holes in the picture below? They are very faint in the picture, but you can easily see them when you are working with the fabric.

The first thing I do is to stick a pin in the hole right at the intersection where I want the seam to match up with the piece underneath.

Again, it's challenging to see, but the holes are in the bottom piece also. 

I simply match up the pin in the first piece with the corresponding and correct hole in the second piece. When I do this, I know that is the point I need to sew in order to end up with perfect points. 

There is a trick here. I don't just line up and pin this intersection, call it a day and go sew.  (Of course not! That would be too easy.)

Instead, I keep the pin at the intersection and add a pin on both sides of that point. Notice how I keep the intersection pin horizontal through the to pieces of fabric? I do that so I can be certain that I don't move anything and lose that perfect placement.

Before sewing the seam, I remove the center pin because I know that intersection is now secure. I found that if I keep the pin at the intersecting point and simply secure it, I tend to have the fabrics slips a little and I lose accuracy. If it works you for, great! You don't have to add the two pins and you can be get to sewing faster than me.  :-) 

Here's the seam before pressing. Looks pretty good!

And it looks even better after pressing!

I'm a happy girl with a quilt that I really like!

Yes, I know this is an extra step and takes extra time, but I think it's a lot faster then me having to take time to rip out seams.

I know that I am not the only quilter who has encountered this issue; and I'd love to hear how you handle challenges like this.